Sounds like something that should be embroidered on a pillow, right? It's such a basic a concept, yet it's lost on so many service vendors.
Millions of dollars in research have been spent analyzing customer service practices, overlooking one simple fact.
Our customers want the same things we want from a vendor.
The solution to sustaining (and growing) a high-quality service organization is to simply accept the reality that "Customers R Us and We R Customers" and to learn how to listen to our own value systems.
Your customers want to be treated exactly the same way you want to be treated when you are a customer.
After all these years as a service vendor, it's almost embarrassing to boil it down so simply. Fred Reichheld, who developed the Net Promoter Score (NPS), realized a fundamentally simple truth: Customer satisfaction doesn't promote repeat business. Loyalty does.
Why do so many service vendors have trouble with this? Processes and mechanisms can be put in place, but the bottom line is this: If your people don't feel a strong sense of loyalty to your customers, it shouldn't be surprising when your customers fail to develop a sense of loyalty toward your people.
A good service experience contributes to loyalty, of course. And the properties of a good experience are not mysterious. Getting help or providing it -- we know when it works. Often, it's just the ability to reach someone who can actually help. That's a persistent challenge.
I think it's fair to say that you wouldn't call for service unless you wanted to talk to a subject matter expert. You know they can fix your problem. The difficulty often seems to be getting to that person. It's frustrating to explain a technical issue to someone you know isn't equipped to understand it.
A major victory is won when you reach someone who genuinely listens and understands your issue (and its impact). The quicker the better. All service organizations develop expertise. The best ones are able to streamline access to that expertise.
When a customer's first experience asking for help results in a victory, you've established a trust relationship, an important basis for loyalty.
I know what I will tolerate and accept, and what I classify as ultimate success with my own service providers.
So follow your instincts. Listen to what your inner customer is saying. Make it happy, it will make you happy. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.